Defensive Driving in Iowa

SUMMARY: Iowa Defensive Driving Courses

When you are convicted of multiple moving traffic violations, the Iowa Department of Transportation (DOT) may require you to complete a defensive driving/driver improvement program.

If you elect to take traffic school voluntarily, you may be able to earn a car insurance discount.

Whatever your reason for taking a defensive driving course, you'll have the opportunity to improve your driving skills and potentially reduce the chances of receiving a traffic citation in the future.

On this page you'll learn about Iowa defensive driving/driver improvement courses and who to contact for more information.

Taking Iowa Traffic School

Iowa traffic school/defensive driving programs are generally used to:

  • Earn a car insurance discount.
  • Satisfy the requirements of an Iowa traffic court.
  • Avoid a driver's license suspension.
  • Reinstate a driver's license.
  • Dismiss a traffic ticket.

Depending on your reason for taking a course, you may have the option of completing defensive driving either online or in a classroom setting.

If an Iowa traffic court or the Iowa DMV requires you to take a driver improvement course, you will likely receive additional information about:

  • Whether you must complete the course in person (i.e. not online).
  • Your deadline for finishing the program.
  • Additional fees and documents you need to submit upon completion.

For more information, please contact the traffic court handling your ticket or the Iowa DMV.

Required Driver Improvement Traffic School

The Iowa DMV may require you to complete a defensive driver improvement course if you:

  • Are convicted of 3 moving violations within 12 months.
  • Are convicted of driving 25 to 29 MPH over the speed limit.

Usually, you'll need to visit your local community college to complete the DMV driver improvement course.

NOTE: If you fail to complete a required Iowa defensive driving/driver improvement program, your driver's license can be suspended.

The Iowa DMV should provide you with instructions and requirements. If you have questions, please contact the IA Department of Transportation directly.

After you complete a defensive driving course in Iowa, you will be placed on driving probation for 1 year. If you are convicted of a traffic violation during this time, your IA driver's license could be suspended.

The Iowa DMV will keep track of your traffic violations on your driving record. For more information about checking your driving record violations and driver's license suspensions, please visit the following pages:

Iowa Auto Insurance Discounts

If you take a defensive driving course voluntarily, your car insurance company may award you with a discount.

While many insurance providers offer a defensive driving/traffic school discount to elderly and teenage drivers, drivers of all ages may be eligible for a discount.

Contact your auto insurance provider for more details.

Iowa Defensive Driving Course Details

Whether a driver improvement course is mandatory or you choose to complete the course voluntarily, it will usually cover the following topics:

  • Iowa traffic laws.
  • Moving violations and consequences.
  • Alcohol/drug abuse.
  • Sharing the road.
  • Defensive driving tips.

Both classroom and online defensive driving courses will generally take anywhere from 4 to 12 hours to complete. The main difference is that you can work at your own pace and on your own schedule with online traffic school.

Deadlines to complete an entire traffic school program taken voluntarily will usually be determined by the course provider.

The end of your program will usually include a final exam.

After you pass your exam, you should receive a defensive driving completion certificate.

Depending on your reason for taking the course, you may need to submit your completion certificate to:

  • The traffic court handling your ticket.
  • The Iowa DMV.
  • Your car insurance company.
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